GST Council meet gets underway in Guwahati, Congress protests
The 23rd GST Council meeting got underway here on Thursday evening while the opposition Congress agitated outside the venue protesting the negative impact of GST on small businesses, poor and marginalised sections of the society.
While the officials of state/union territory Finance Departments met during the first day of the meeting on Thursday, Finance Ministers of at least 24 states will meet on Friday, with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the chair to review the situation after three months of the new tax regime`s implementation.
After the protests outside the hotel venue, some Congress leaders including Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy, Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal and Karnataka Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda addressed a press conference where they claimed revenue collection in the states had been impacted with the implementation of GST.
"When we were advising the Central government that common people, small traders, MSME and small scale industry is over burdened with GST tax structure and are suffering, the government was in denial.
"They were not ready to listen to us. However as they came to know that small traders and small scale industry of Gujarat is angry with GST tax slabs and cumbersome procedures, they are now ready to lower taxes on several items," said Badal.
The Congress claimed that out of the country`s 31 states, only five have not reported revenue loss and have not claimed compensation.
"Rest all the states are reporting revenue losses due to implementation of the GST," they said.